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Yle reporter suspected of defaming famous film director

Helsinki police say an Yle journalist is suspected of aggravated defamation against Finnish film director Aki Louhimies.

Aku Louhimies
Aku Louhimies Image: Roni Rekomaa / AOP

Police are conducting a preliminary investigation into whether Yle reporter Sara Rigatelli defamed film director Aki Louhimies when she published a story in which she detailed actors' claims of his humiliating and degrading behaviour.

Detective Chief Inspector Pekka Hätönen of the Helsinki Police, however, refused to provide Yle with any details on the case, such as the names of the persons involved.

Last year, Rigatelli published a story about Louhimies in which many actors, inspired by the worldwide #Metoo movement, came forward to accuse award-winning director of questionable directing techniques in earlier productions.

Actors who came forward claimed Louhimies' humiliating and sometimes sadistic behaviour largely targeted women, including reports of making one actress eat her own vomit.

Tabloid daily Ilta-Sanomat said police are also considering whether to launch a preliminary investigation into how Jouko Jokinen, editor-in-chief of Yle’s Finnish-language news, handled the story. When the scandal broke, Louhimies wanted Rigatelli's story altered, claiming there were factual errors in the reporting. However Jokinen refuted the director's assertions.

Louhimies took his complaints to the police after Rigatelli tipped off the BBC about the criticism he was facing in Finland. As a result, the BBC allegedly cancelled plans to work with Louhimies.

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